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Quick Hits Week 6: Where the rubber meets the road

Week 6 features key games at the top of the MIAC, NJAC, PAC, SAA, and SCIAC. Not every team is playing for control of their league, and our panel also takes a look at teams likely to get their seasons jump started as the season moves into the second half.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer, Frank Rossi and Greg Thomas.

— Greg Thomas

Which game is the Game of the Week?

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Keith’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury.  There are MIAC, WIAC, SCIAC and SAA games that could fit here, but the Route 13 Rivalry winner will have a second victory against a playoff-caliber team and a clear path to the NJAC title and playoffs.
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Ryan’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. Two undefeated rivals sharing the top spot in the conference — made even more interesting by the NJAC being down this year and no guarantee the loser will make the playoffs with one loss.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 6 Bethel at No. 4 St. John’s.  Next question.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. The Wolverines have reversed their fortunes from 2018 and found ways to win close games. The Sea Gulls have struggled to put opponents away late but have hung on to remain unbeaten. This should be a nail-biter with the winner holding the inside track on the NJAC championship.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 12 Wesley at No. 14 Salisbury. One will be in a great NJAC race position. One will need to start counting Pool C bids and hope to win out.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 6 Bethel at No. 4 St. John’s.  Several good games on the docket this week, but 4 vs. 6 is a rare bird, indeed. The first of three titanic MIAC games this season, and the weather will give this one the late season feel it deserves.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 8 Berry.  Not that I think the Vikings aren’t favorites at home, but there’s not as much distance between them and unranked, unbeaten Hendrix as the poll might suggest.
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Ryan’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Though, admittedly, I’ve got W&J ranked on my ballot and not Case, so I wouldn’t see a Presidents’ win as being all that much of an upset.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: None.  With six ranked teams playing each other, not so many teams left in upsettable positions.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve. Either the Spartans create separation and set themselves up for a title tilt at Carnegie Mellon in Week 11, or the Presidents prevail and create some #PACtion chaos. A W&J win could create a five-way tie atop the conference standings.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 25 Case Western Reserve (vs. Washington & Jefferson). The merry-go-round in the PAC continues as W&J needs this win to stay alive.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 15 Redlands.  The Bulldogs are on the road at a sneaky good Chapman squad that might be flying a bit under the radar. This is a dangerous game for Redlands.

Which ECFC teams get their first wins?

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Keith’s take: Castleton. The six ECFC teams are 2-22, but only the Gallaudet-Castleton winner is guaranteed a W. Vermont is a long way from D.C., and I’ll take the Spartans at home, and that’s it.
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Ryan’s take: Castleton and Dean.  The Spartans can lean on their dual-strength offense against Gallaudet, and it shouldn’t be overlooked that Dean’s Terrell Watts is the conference’s best quarterback.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Anna Maria.  I think the AMCATs are a little further ahead in their program building than Alfred State is.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Castleton and Dean. The Spartans’ defense has kept them in close games this season and the offense should be able to do enough to defeat Gallaudet. The Bulldogs’ defense has been a weakness, but so has SUNY-Maritime’s offense. The defenses hang on for wins this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Castleton.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Castleton. The wait for win number one goes on for another week for Gallaudet, Dean, and Anna Maria.

Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?

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Keith’s take: Occidental at Whittier.  The Tigers haven’t beaten an NCAA team since defeating the Poets 56-38 on Oct. 29, 2016, but it could happen here in 2019.
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Ryan’s take: Bowdoin at Amherst.  Last week’s narrow loss to NESCAC top dog Wesleyan puts winless Bowdoin’s outing against Amherst on my upset radar.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Brevard at Methodist.  The Tornadoes aren’t playoff-eligible yet but are unbeaten and interesting.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Heidelberg at Marietta. The middle of the OAC is crowded, with both of these teams coming off their first loss of the season. How will they respond, knowing that playoff berths are likely already out of reach with the toughest part of the conference schedule still ahead of them?
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Misericordia at Widener. I explain why in this week’s ATN Friday Podcast.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: St. Vincent at Thiel. This might be the one. It’s been a long time since Thiel has been able to Taste the Feeling of victory.

Which team with a tough first half starts the second half of the season on a positive note?

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Keith’s take: Lycoming is one point from being winless, but should start the second half off with a win over Alvernia, which hasn’t scored more than 13 in a game since Sept. 14.
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Ryan’s take: George Fox.  I did think the Bruins would be better-positioned at this point, but while the defense has largely been solid, the offense is only now starting to click. That fact alone can help turn things around.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Husson.  The Eagles are just 1-3 so far but Curry has to travel to Maine to play them.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rowan. The Profs have played as well as any 0-4 team in the nation. Their opponents are a combined 13-4. Rowan’s last two losses were on the road to then-ranked opponents by a combined total of four points. The Profs take their frustration out on Kean in front of a home crowd this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Rowan (vs. Kean). Give them this much: the Profs schedule a rough beginning set of opponents. This should be their first win.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: Christopher Newport. This has just not gone the way the Captains thought it would. They should break a long touchdown drought and get one in the win column this weekend.

Which team with a strong first half starts the second half on a negative note?

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Keith’s take: Chapman  begins the middle third of its season with its first loss when Elias Hackney and Redlands take care of business.
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Ryan’s take: Westminster (Pa.).  The Titans’ four wins so far have come at the expense of teams that are a combined 2-16. Upcoming battles against Grove City (this week), W&J and Carnegie Mellon will prove difficult.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Puget Sound. Linfield’s struggles don’t go as far as losing this game.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Central. The Dutch are off to an impressive 4-0 start, but the schedule is heavily backloaded. Central closes the season against the other top three teams in the ARC (at Simpson, Wartburg, at Coe), but can’t get caught looking past a battle-tested 2-3 Dubuque squad this week.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Hobart (vs. RPI). The Statesmen failed to kick in the Union game, and RPI has bounced well since the 6-3 loss vs. WPI.
Greg Thomas
Greg’s take: No. 12 Wesley. The Wolverines have been walking a tightrope for a few weeks now and I think their Route 13 rivals are going to deal the Wolverines their first loss of the season.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Fridays, where Pat and Keith review the Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.

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Quick Hits Week 5: Quick hats

Little Brass Bells will be ringing this week, in the eyes and ears of our panel. In a week of big games, that rivalry is the biggest for our panel.

Our regular crew is Keith McMillan, Ryan Tipps, Pat Coleman, Adam Turer and Frank Rossi. Our sixth spot goes to a guest each week, and this week’s is Gordon Mann, longtime contributor to D3football.com and editor at D3hoops.com who also broadcasts football games for Delaware Valley.

— Pat Coleman

What’s the game of the week?

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Keith’s take: No. 21 Wheaton at No. 5 North Central. It’s a rivalry, there’s history, and if the Thunder win, a third team, Illinois Wesleyan, takes control of the CCIW.
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Ryan’s take: No. 21 Wheaton at No. 5 North Central. The precedent is set. I can’t remember a year when this didn’t have major CCIW implications.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 21 Wheaton at No. 5 North Central. It’s a bell, it’s made of brass, but it’s little so it kinda dings at a high pitch. Does an angel get its wings?
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 21 Wheaton at No. 5 North Central. This is the biggest test of the season for both teams and North Central’s best chance to prove itself as a worthy Stagg Bowl contender this year.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 22 Delaware Valley at Stevenson. This game will help define the upper end of the MAC while providing the first test to the Aggies since Wesley.
Gordon Mann
Gordon’s take: No. 21 Wheaton at No. 5 North Central.This game shapes the CCIW race and part of the playoff bracket. The Thunder’s storm-aided victory last year ups the drama.

Which Top 25 team is most likely to get upset?

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Keith’s take: No. 18 Case Western Reserve. Spartans wore Westminster (Pa.) out last year, but casts have changed.
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Ryan’s take: No. 22 Delaware Valley. The Aggies aren’t on my ballot and haven’t been consistent enough to give me much confidence.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: No. 22 Delaware Valley. Nobody will emerge unscathed in the MAC this season.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: No. 22 Delaware Valley. The MAC has already been a surprise this season, with Lycoming and Misericordia tied atop the conference standings with Del Val and Stevenson.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: No. 8 Hardin-Simmons. Two prolific offenses. One team looking ahead to No. 2. Give this one to ETBU in a shocking shootout.
Gordon
Gordon’s take: No. 24 Franklin & Marshall. Lots of Pennsylvania possibilities here. Let’s go Muhlenberg dumping the Diplomats in a nail-biter.

Pick a road team to win impressively.

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Keith’s take: Ohio Northern. The Polar Bears and Marietta Pioneers are each undefeated, but there is usually some distance between these programs.
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Ryan’s take: Williams. This week is big against Trinity. And I like that the Ephs have shaken off the ugly parts of the early 2010s.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Huntingdon. Also a good pick for the final question, the Hawks have frustrations to work out at Methodist.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Rhodes. I agree with this week’s front page poll that Millsaps is one of the most surprising 4-0 teams. A Lynx win on the road over the Majors qualifies.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Thomas More. The Saints will win very big — the ones traveling a distance to NY — as St. Lawrence QB Grochot was in concussion protocol.
Gordon
Gordon’s take: No. 16 Trine. The other Thunder start MIAA play with a win at Hope, keeping the Flying Dutchmen as runners-up for a little while longer.

Choose a team to beat someone it lost to last season.

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Keith’s take: FDU-Florham. Albright hung 51 on the Devils in 2017, and this is their best chance to shake off an 0-4 start. FDU might get to 4-1 instead.
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Ryan’s take: N.C. Wesleyan. The Bishops have had a long stretch off before this week against LaGrange.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Central. Getting upset by Buena Vista had to sting last year. Won’t happen this time.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: FDU-Florham. As I stated earlier, the MAC is wide open this year. Albright’s tailspin continues as the Devils continue the program’s most impressive start in over a decade.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: SUNY-Maritime. Thomas Wright has thrown for 10 TDs and just 1 INT for the Privateers and needs that efficiency to win vs. Husson.
Gordon
Gordon’s take: FDU-Florham. We’re contractually obligated to mention the Devils in Quick Hits now. They avenge last year’s 51-33 home loss to Albright.

Which game are you following that nobody else on this panel is following?

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Keith’s take: Dubuque at Loras. It’s not the best cross-town rivalry game in Week 5, but the Duhawks are coming off two wins and hosting in a renovated Rock Bowl.
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Ryan’s take: Linfield at Whitworth; F&M at Muhlenberg; or Case at Westminister. If my fellow panelists missed any of these, that’s my pick. All great matchups!.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: My burn sat rare font bud ships. Listen to today’s podcast if you need a translation.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Randolph-Macon at Washington & Lee. Not just because my alma mater is playing a huge conference game and its home opener. These two teams have had a combined 38-day layoff since their last game.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Occidental at Cal Lutheran. The Kingsmen are surprisingly 1-2 right now. They should beat an undermanned Oxy, but it could be close.
Gordon
Gordon’s take: Trinity at Williams.K-Mack loves him some NESCAC, but I have more personal interest in this one than others on the panel. Go Bants!

Which of the 49 winless teams leaves the field happy for the first time this season?

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Keith’s take: Maryville, vs. Brevard. The Scots have scored just 9 points this season, but they’ve faced playoff-caliber teams in Berry and Centre.
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Ryan’s take: Crown. It’s a pick of the winless teams as they face off against Iowa Wesleyan.
Pat Coleman
Pat’s take: Benedictine. Conference play begins in the NACC and CUW is a good starting point.
Adam Turer
Adam’s take: Lakeland. The Muskies finally figure out their offense in the post-Michael Whitley world. The grueling non-conference slate pays off against Concordia-Chicago.
Frank Rossi
Frank’s take: Gallaudet. The Bison last played on Sept. 8. Anna Maria is averaging 7 points per game. Advantage to a rested Bison squad.
Gordon
Gordon’s take: Illinois College. The Blueboys feel better after a home win over Beloit on Saturday night.

We invite you to add your predictions in the comments below. Download the Around the Nation podcast on Fridays, where Pat and Keith review the Quick Hits that were prescient, and the Quick Misses that were terribly off base.

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ATN Podcast 175: Defenses keep showing up

Offensive numbers catch the eye, whether it’s 98 points or this week’s 79 or 332 receiving yards and six touchdowns. But Keith has this thing about defense also being part of the game, and that’s hard to argue, as long as we still play 11 on a side. In this week’s D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast, Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan take a look at some of the places where defense shows up, expectedly or not so much.

Pat and Keith run through all the top news, the hidden highlights, the risers and sliders, the quick hits and quick misses and more from the week in Division III football. That, plus the game(s) which weren’t played, and what that means for the programs affected

The D3football.com Around the Nation Podcast is a regular conversation between Pat Coleman and Keith McMillan and guests covering the wide range of Division III football. During the season, it hits your feed weekly on Monday morning. This week, we thank Fanraise for sponsoring our podcast.

Hit play, or subscribe to get this podcast on your mobile device. 
Wheaton photo by Michael Hudson photography; Linfield  athletics photo
You can subscribe to the Around the Nation Podcast in iTunes. You can also get this and any of our future Around the Nation podcasts automatically by subscribing to this RSS feed: http://www.d3blogs.com/d3football/?feed=podcast